If you’re like most families, you are in the swing of back-to-school. Though they sometimes fight it, our kids thrive on structure. So it’s time to wake up early and refresh our routines for this new season.
Whether it’s packing lunch or ironing school uniforms, do as much as you can the night before. Every evening, I fill my daughter’s bento box and water bottle and, place them in the fridge and add any additional snacks to her lunchbox. I also lay out her uniform -- from socks and shoes down to the bow she wants to wear in her hair -- to avoid any last-minute scrambling.
For parents, I recommend leaving your coffee maker programmed every night. There’s no better motivation to get out of bed than a freshly brewed pot of coffee! Mornings can really set the tone for the day, and I don’t want my or my kids’ day to start out feeling frantic. While things can come up, prepping the evening before helps with that!
Kids burn a lot of energy at school and need their rest each night to recharge. It’s as essential to their performance in the classroom as it is on the sports field (or any other activity they partake in).
Though your kids’ bedtime may be one of the few opportunities you have to get some chores done or enjoy alone time, early bedtimes aren’t just for kids. No one benefits from having a worn-out parent. So do the essential tasks and get some rest. You’ll be glad you did when the alarm goes off!
Morning Call Time
I’m a better mom when I’ve had some quiet time and coffee before my little ones are up—waking up before them is key to helping me start the day on the right foot. I make it a point to get out of bed before they do, ensuring I have time to get dressed and be fully awake before I’m needed.
I also recommend waking your kids up with a few spare minutes to get ready rather than giving them just enough time to get ready. As every parent knows, there are always bound to be spills and other delays.
Rather than look at your morning commute as an epic battle against Miami traffic, use it as an opportunity to spend quality time with your kids. While this may not be as easy with teens, our car ride to school has quickly become one of the most treasured parts of my morning.
We begin by praying together as a family and spend the drive singing along to worship songs or some of my kids’ other favorite music. It’s easy to get frustrated with traffic or bad drivers, but let’s not allow those things to spoil the morning drive by letting that stressed-out energy rub off on our kids.
I also recommend checking a traffic app like Waze or Google Maps every day before heading out. Though you may be familiar with your drive to school, these apps can help notify you of accidents and traffic jams, and offer a faster alternative. The afternoon commute is a great time to check in with them about their day, their classes, friends and more. The memories of the day will be fresh, and with nowhere to go, they are more likely to talk.
Designate a Space
To avoid a heaping mess by the front door -- or frantic calls of “Mom, I can’t find my backpack!” in the morning -- designate a space in your home where your kids can keep their school supplies when not in use. It’s also a good idea to designate a space for them to do their homework.
Backpacks can be kept on a hook by the front door or in their bedroom closet. Their work can be done anywhere. Whether it’s a desk, the kitchen counter, or a corner of the dining table, they’ll know where their things are and where they need to go to get some schoolwork done. Then get them into the habit of packing it all away as soon as they are done. Clutter just adds stress, and with papers strewn all over the place, there’s a greater chance of their work being misplaced.
We’ve talked about prepping, resting, and being organized, but what about fun? Make family fun part of your routine! Whether it’s dinner together every evening, family game night on Fridays, or Saturday mornings at the park, it’s great to add some intentional family time to your routine.
The Monday through Friday hustle of carpool and homework can make it easy to forget that weekly fun is a great way for your family to bond! Getting back into a back-to-school routine can be a challenge. It’s okay to adapt and tweak it as you learn what works for your family. Above all, treasure these moments. As hectic as it can feel, one day, these moments will be gone, and we’ll miss them more than we know.